Just this Tuesday, workers and advocates joined together in a National Day of Action to fight for an increase in the minimum wage. Two days later, we have cause to celebrate.
Today, Representative George Miller and Senator Tom Harkin introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012. In a strong showing of support in the House, the bill had over 100 cosponsors who recognize the importance of raising the nation’s minimum wage.
Millions of workers – mostly women – struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage earnings. The last increase to the federal minimum wage came three years ago, to just $7.25 per hour. This wage adds up to only $14,500 per year for full-time, year-round workers – wages that would leave a working mother and two children below the poverty line. The bills introduced today, like the Rebuild America Act, would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour, increase the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and index the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation.
Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy, a step toward retirement security for women, and would go a long way to help low-wage workers provide basic needs for their families. Plus – it’s popular! Increasing the minimum wage is an issue that is has strong support among a diverse group of American voters. In a recent poll, likely voters supported increasing the minimum wage, regardless of gender, age, education level, race, region, and political affiliation.
So what are you waiting for, Congress? It’s time to raise the minimum wage!